Grit and Gunslingers, the latest in Super Genius Games Ultimate Options line presents new options for anyone who wants to make use with the firearm rules from Ultimate Combat. At 16 pages long, approximately 14 and ½ of those pages filled with game content (the other page and a half going to the great cover art by Gabriel Verdon, the credits and the prerequisite licence text.
Grit and Gunslingers opens with Alternative Deeds and a discussion on how to incorporate them into a game. The simplest is to let a gunslinger choose from a list when they would normally get new deeds (similar to witches and hexes), allowing for more customization. While an interesting idea, I wonder just how well this would integrate with some of the archetypes, which already replace some deeds and could lend to some wonky combinations if the GM isn’t careful. The text also has two other options though, so this isn’t really that much of a problem. The addition of a level based deeds list (with deeds from the base gunslinger class, not its archetypes, listed and indicated as such) makes it much easier to figure out what is available to the player and when.
There are 19 deeds presented, such as Close quarters Shot, which gives grappled gunslingers a boost if they find themselves grappled, Exhibition Shot, which enables a gunslinger to let his firearm do the talking, and the frightening Enfilade, which lets the gunslinger blast a line of enemies. The deeds are interesting and flavourful, though one or two seem very situational in their use, such as Retributive Shot (you can make one free attack if you’ve taken enough damage to drop you to 0 or below, even if the damage would kill you) and Benchrest Shot (which gives a minor bonus for spending a full round aiming but having a list of events that cannot occur between that round and your next shot or the bonus is lost). The only real rule issue I found was whether or not the two Ricochet deeds required the use of an additional shot of ammunition and if the added attack suffered a chance of a misfire.*
Next comes the new Grit feats. There are 14 new ones and include a reprinting of Amateur Gunslinger and Extra Grit with added text to incorporate alternate grit (see below). The feats give other classes extra options if they choose to use firearms (which is always a plus), and also contains the Guts feat, which allows anyone who takes it to get another deed they qualify for but didn’t know. I particularly like Divine Forbearance, which lets inquisitors reroll a misfire and get a bonus to the new roll (and not have to worry about it misfiring), and Accursed Ammunition, which can deliver a hex with a normal damaging shot.
This is followed by alternate grit rules, which introduce the concepts of Guile and Panache. They work exactly like grit except they work off intelligence and charisma respectively, and lean less towards a western feel and more towards swashbuckling.
There are rules for using Grit (and thus Guile and Panache) with weapons other than firearms, and include 2 new deeds specifically for this, along with lists of deeds that are available if you are using a bow, throwing weapon or sling, a burly weapon or a finesse weapon. This gives options to players and GMs who like the idea of Grit and Deeds but feel that a flintlock pistol has no place in fantasy.
The book finishes off with an alternate class of the gunslinger called the Fusilier (hint, it’s the guy on the cover) and some new equipment. The Fusilier is more of a swashbuckler than western gunslinger. He uses Panache instead of Grit, is able to use his deeds with firearms or finesse weapons, and can add slowly add his Charisma modifier to his armour class. All in all, an interesting class.
The new equipment consists of 5 new types of bullets, such as the object destroying knock bullet or the extra dangerous sovereign alchemical cartridge, and a bandolier which makes it easier to carry ammo and safer to reload in combat. It also details a new kind of non-magical quality that can be added in creating a gun (the way you can make armour reinforced) to let it handle the sovereign cartridges better.
Now, I liked the gun rules in Ultimate Combat to begin with, so I was thrilled to see this product. Having gone through it, I found that it was full of flavour and good ideas, and was well executed. The cover art is great, though I found one or two pieces a little strange. Two or three deeds could have used a little polishing to ensure they dealt with all of the implications of the firearm rules, but they are still perfectly fine to use as written. The same can be said for the bandolier, which doesn’t mention if it protects the ammo it carries from water or fire.** Finally, the rules for using grit and deeds with other types of weapons makes this product useful for people who don’t like firearms.
Overall, I give Grit and Gunslingers 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to incorporate it into my game.
*Owen Stephens was good enough to errata this on the Paizo Product Discussion board and said that they don’t use up extra ammo or suffer from mishaps.
**Owen also clarified this on the Paizo Product Discussion board. It doesn’t.